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Family History Stories Paraphrased
Page 22 of 38

Joshua P. Church
Judge Charles Rufus Brice
Judge Frank H. Lea

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Jose Apodaca
By Edith L. Crawford
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Lincoln
Surnames mentioned: Apodaca, Sanchez, Rodriguez, Stanley, Harrell, Gamboa

My father was Severanio Apodaca and my mother was Juanita Sanchez, both were born in Old Mexico and were married there. They came to the United States soon after they were married. They came to Lincoln County New Mexico, about 1871 and lived at Picacho, New Mexico, for a while and moved from there to Agua Azul, New Mexico, which in now called Blue Water, New Mexico. Agua Azul in located on the south side of the Capitan Mountains. Father moved there about the year 1872, and took up a piece of land and built a two roomed hut on the place.

He had a few head of horses and cattle and farmed the place. There was lots of wild game in the Capitan Mountains in those days and they always had all the fresh meat that they wanted. About the first of January, 1873, while my parents were living at this place, a friend of theirs by the name of Marcial Rodriguez came to go on a hunting trip with my father. They got up at daybreak one morning and went out to look for their horses. The men had to cross a flat which was between the mountain and a big arroyo. The juniper trees which covered this place had limbs that grew very close to the ground. While my father and Marcial were crossing this flat a band of Indians were hidden in the juniper trees, and as the men came out in the open the Indians began shooting at them. They hit Marcial in the back and my father in the leg. The two men fought with the Indians all day and an it began to get dark, Marcial told Father to make a run for the arroyo and try to get away and save himself, an Marcial felt that he was going to die and there was nothing that Father could do to help him. It was best for Father to go for help. Father made a run for the arroyo with the Indians after him, but an it was dark he was able to get away from them. Father walked most of the night and came out at the Casey Ranch, which was about four miles north of Picacho. He told the Casey men about the Indians and that he had left Marcial Rodriguez seriously wounded on the flat at Agua Azul. Father was anxious to get back to his home and to my mother.

The Casey's formed a posse and sent word up and down the Rio Bonito for every man that could go, to meet them at Agua Azul to fight the Indians. The posse left the Casey Ranch just at daybreak and went an fast an possible to Father's house to see about my mother, who was expecting a baby. When they got there they found that the Indians had been there and taken my mother away with them. The posse, headed by my father, took up the trail of the Indians. When they got to the flat at Agua Azul they found the body of Marcial Rodriguez. The Indians had scalped him and cut off his right arm. The posse dug a grave and buried him where he lay. By this time several others had joined them and they started out after the Indians again. They overtook them at the west end of the Capitan Mountains and the Indians and posse had a fight. Several of the Indians were killed but some of them got away. Some one in the posse noticed two squaws on the side of the mountain and started after them. The two squaws had my mother and when they saw the white men coming and knew that they could not get away with my mother, they split her head open with an axe and the squaws made their get away. When the men got to my mother she was dead and they found that she had given birth to her baby, which was alive and a boy. The posse dug a grave and buried my mother right there on the mountain side.

My father took the baby to Lincoln, New Mexico, and gave it to a woman named Tulia Gurule Stanley to care for. She raised this baby and called him Jose Apodaca. The Indians that killed my mother were the Mescalero Apaches. My father was killed by the Harrell Brothers, on the Ruidoso River, about where the town of San Patricio, New Mexico, now is. My father was on his way to the Dowlin Mill, which was on the upper Ruidoso. He was taking a wagon load of grin to the mill to be ground. This was about a year after my mother was killed.

The Harrell Brothers were from Texas and had settled on the Ruidoso River. They had trouble with the Mexican people over water rights, which terminated into what is known an the Harrell War. I grew up in Lincoln New Mexico and was married there to Evangelesta Gamboa, in 1900. There were no children born to us and my wife died in Lincoln in 1916 and was buried at Raventon, New Mexico. I have lived all my life in Lincoln County. I am now living at Carrizozo, New Mexico.

Joshua P. Church
By Georgia B. Redfield
Mrs. Ella Davidson
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Church, Bolton, Keith, Harrison, Langford, O'Neal, Richardson, McGaffey, Cahoon, Lea

Joshua P. Church, coming from Texas to White Oaks, New Mexico, in 1880 1882 was one of the first important pioneer builders of the Southeast section of the territory. In 1891, after removing from White Oaks to Roswell, he became prominently identified, with the business interests and development of the little village and was one of the most popular, co-operative and useful citizens the town, and later, the City of Roswell ever had.

Mr. Church was married July 18, 1891, to Amelia Bolton, daughter of John and Ella Doyel Bolton, both natives of Wexford Ireland, who came to New Mexico in 1871 and settled at Fort Stanton, where Mr. Bolton was stationed with army guards an a protection against the Indians. Four children were born to Mr. Church and his wife Amelia Church, whom they named Sophie who lives in Roswell, Joshua, a son who lives in Deming. Aileen, Mrs. Langford Keith who lives in Roswell, and Elinor, Mrs. Richard Harrison who lives in Mogalis, Arizona.

Mr. Church brought his wife, when a bride, to live in the first exclusive hotel to operate in Roswell, the holdings of which he bought from Mrs. Aileen O'Neal, who had come from White Oaks upon advice of Judge Granville A. Richardson, who explained the need of a good hotel in Roswell, where he lived. Captain Joseph C. Lea who came in 1877 had bought the old adobe structure, with attic sleeping quarters for paying guests, built by Van C. Smith and A. O. Wilburn in 1869, which he used for his residence.

The new hotel operated by Mrs. O'Neal, which was considered very grand, was also built of adobe. The building first contained a veranda, a dining room, kitchen and small office on the first floor, and seven or eight bedrooms on the second floor. Additional rooms were built under the management of Mr. Church, the entire structure was remodeled, and named the Pauly Hotel in honor of the man who built the first Court House and jail. The cell doors of the jail were equipped with the Pauly Jail Cell Locking System, invented by him, whereby all cells were simultaneously locked on the outside of the jail corridor.

Under the capable management of Mr. and Mrs. Church the Pauly Hotel became widely known as being equipped with as modern accommodations as could be supplied in the Territory during those days of early settlement. In four years Mr. Church sold out. The hotel afterwards changed hands several times, operating at different intervals as the Pauly, Grand Central, and Bank head Hotel. Until it was burned June 19, 1937, no matter under what name it was operated, the hotel remained the favorite stopping place of the pioneer sheep men and stockmen of the Valley, as in the old days when Mr. Church was the manager. Typical of the progressiveness of Mr. Church and his never failing interest in civic improvement, during the first years while serving as councilman on the City Board his efforts were untiring in securing financial backing for grading of city streets.

He was also one of the organizers in 1894 of the Roswell Telephone and Manufacturing Company with franchise taken out May 24, 1894, starting as a local system boasting thirty-five telephones, with J. W. Poe, President, J. P. Church Vice President, E. A. Cahoon treasurer, and L. K. McGaffey secretary. This was the pioneer system, and first in the Pecos Valley, which was enlarged in two years, connecting Roswell and Carlsbad, by long distance; with exchanges at Hagerman, Dexter and Lake Arthur.

After having grown tired of public life in a hotel, Mr. and Mrs. Church built their home, where Mrs. Church lives at the present time, at what is now Kentucky Avenue. Here, one of the beauty spots of the City was developed by the Church family, and nearly twenty-five years was spent by them in unbroken happiness until the death of Mr. Church which occurred at his home in 1917.

Mr. Church was popular in business and social circles, and with all strangers with whom he came in contact. He was known throughout New Mexico as a man of indomitable will power and unusual physical endurance. Church Peak in the Mountains near Nogal was named in his honor. Once when deserted by exhausted fellow surveyors, he went forward, alone, and scales the steep rocky mountain side and erected a monument, on which he wrote his name on the highest peak.

Years later another man, he too a surveyor, victorious over the same almost insurmountable cliffs, found the little monument. The pinnacle from that day forward has  been known as Church Peak. It will stand through the ages, until the end of time, as a testimonial to the staunch sturdy frontiersman, whose chief characteristic was the will to accomplish all things undertaken by him no matter how great the difficulties encountered. It is because of such progressive men as Mr. Church, that Roswell people enjoy the beautiful modern City, built in a desert country by the first pioneer settlers of the Pecos Valley.

Judge Charles Rufus Brice
By Georgia B. Redfield
Justice of New Mexico Supreme Court
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Brice, Grove, Wyatt, Dowaliby, Roberts, Richardson, Hyram

Judge Charles Rufus Brice, Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, was born in Ferrell, Texas, August 6, 1870. His parents were Rev. John W. and Harriet Brice. Judge Brice is almost entirely self educated. He received his early education in the public schools of Texas, and credit is due him for successfully overcoming the many obstacles he encountered in obtaining his higher education, necessary for his chosen profession, the law.

He was admitted to practice, District Court, 46th Judicial District 2, Texas, in 1893 and was County Attorney of Hall County, Texas 1896 to 1900. On October 14, 1896 he was married to Miss Mary Evelyn Pruitt, of Blooming Grove, Texas. The couple have two daughters, Gladys Brice Wyatt, and Evelyn Brice Dowaliby, and three grandchildren, Mary Evelyn Wyatt, daughter of Mrs. Wyatt and James Junior, and Charles Brice Dowaliby, sons of Evelyn Brice Dowaliby. Judge Brice, with his family, moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico in 1903. He was elected Mayor of Carlsbad 1904 to 1906. In 1909 he was elected to New Mexico House of Representatives for two years. In 1910 he was elected Delegate to the New Mexico Constitutional Convention, which convened in Santa Fe in 1911. He and his family moved to Roswell in 1916. 

In 1918 he was elected District Judge, 5th Judicial District of New Mexico was re-elected in 1924, and resigned in 1927 to re-enter the practice of law which he resumed with the late Clarence J. Roberts, Chief Justice of New Mexico Supreme Court. In 1934, he was elected Justice of the Supreme Court of New Mexico, for a term of eight years. During the years of Judge Brice's residence in Carlsbad he worked untiringly in the long struggle for statehood, which had begun as far back, as 1870. Admittance to the union was deferred from year to year because of too small population for so large a territory.

Judge Brice was one of the few Democrats, there were only twenty-six, of the one hundred men, mostly Republicans that formed the Constitutional Convention that convened in Santa Fe in 1911, before New Mexico was made a state in January 1912. As a member on appointment of Committees, Judge Brice appointed the late Judge Granvill A. Richardson, of Roswell as a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Judge and Mrs. Brice are of the First Baptist Church of Roswell. They are members of Roswell Country Club and other social club organizations. They are world traveled, having been abroad frequently accompanied by different members of their family on numerous journeys. In their home 800 No. Richardson Avenue, there are treasures collected by them from many nations. Masterpieces of paintings and hand-carved woods and pieces of furniture, embroidered linens, and treasures of China, gathered by Mrs. Brice, and dolls, collected by Evelyn Wyatt, from all the countries she visited when traveling abroad with her mother and grand parents in 1935. The pleasure of possession of these treasures has been shared by the Brice family in frequent exhibits for benefit of the public.

Fraternally, Judge Brice is connected with the Masonic and Knights of Pythias Lodges. He is a member of the National and State Bar Associations, and is President of Chaves County Archaeological and Historical Society, succeeding Lieutenant Governor Hyram M. Dow in 1937. Source: Mary Evelyn Brice, wife of Judge Brice.

Judge Frank H. Lea
By Georgia B. Redfield
Interviewed by his daughter Gertrude Lea Dills.
Paraphrased by C. W. Barnum
Counties: Chaves
Surnames mentioned: Lea, Whetstone 

My father, Judge Frank H. Lea and mother Sue Whetstone Lea were married in Louisiana November 14, 1866 at Auburn the plantation home of my mother, near Bastrop, Louisiana. After their marriage they lived at Auburn until after my brother Joe, and sister Minnie, were born. They then moved to the plantation home of my father's family at Lea's Summit, Missouri. My grandfather had been shot and the palatial Lea home burned by Yankee soldiers during the war.

My parents lived at Lea's Summit ten years until 1879 when my father sold his land and with my mother and five children Joe, Minnie, Carrie, Jennie, and I, came to New Mexico by train to Las Vegas where we were met by mother's brother, Asbury Whetstone who lived in Roswell. He brought a covered prairie schooner  drawn by oxen and a hack, both we used to move all of us and our things to Roswell. The journey across the plains was hard and tiresome, nothing but miles and miles of barren prairie with no houses only those of Fort Sumner between Las Vegas and Roswell to break the monotony.

When we drew near Roswell and crossed North Spring River we thought it a beautiful stream and that we had reached the Promised Land. This was long before artesian wells drained the waters out. Both North and South Spring Rivers ran bank full in those days. Roswell, at that time, was just one store and a hotel or residence of adobe, both owned by my uncle Captain Joseph C. Lea. These buildings were located in the block west of the Court House. Our entire family occupied one room in the store, while a house and a store was being built for us in White Oaks. 

I will never forget our trip from Roswell to White Oaks. We arrived after dark and camped all night at White Oaks Spring, several miles from White Oaks. We slept peacefully and were not molested by Indians. The next night, at the same spot, Indians killed two drummers scalped them, and left the bodies, taking the wagon and horses and all the drummer's clothes and things.

White Oaks was not quiet and peaceful. It was just like all noisy roistering mining towns during the 1870's. On one occasion our home was shot up by a local crowd of drunks who returned later after drinking more, to do more shooting. They were met by a posse of miners, gathered to protect us, who fired on the drunks and killed and wounded several. Our mother was prostrated, from this shock, for several months. Her baby, my sister, Pearl, was born shortly after this experience.

My father was Justice of Peace of White Oaks for many years until we moved to Roswell where he was also Justice of the Peace, serving about thirty-five years in service of peace and order in the State of New Mexico. Our pioneer mothers were the ones who suffered most in the early lawless days. They bore bravely all hardships and dangers were truly the torch bearers for the men who blasted the way and built homes in a new country.

It is well in this time of depression with small privations, to keep those days in remembrance and to think of those women who faltered not in the face of tragedies and hardships, that are hard to believe were ever endured in this now peaceful country and modern city of Roswell.